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Author Topic: backing up photos and lightroom catalog  (Read 6924 times)
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« on: August 17, 2011, 07:24:00 PM »

I always used Acronis for backup software for OS, and for my photos. Well, I have version 10, and it doesn't work for windows 7, and I read that version 11 isn't that great. I keep all my photos on an external HD, along with my Lightroom catalog. This allows me to work on my pics and catalog on desktop and laptop. (no pics are actually kept on the computers' hard drives)

I want to be able to backup my photos and catalog from the external, to another external HD. I "think" I want to be able to do incremental backups, and want the program to be able to resave/backup only new files and files that have recently changed. (I sometimes go back and work on older pics). I rather not have to backup the entire photo folders and catalog everytime, hence the incremental. My photos are in folders per month. Ok, I have the DAM Book, and understand the bucket system and that many people suggest only saving new imports, etc... BUT, I am a procrastinator, so, for example, It could be August, and I get time to go into my June folder and add key words, deletes, edits, etc. So, I need to be able to not only save/backup new imports, but be able to resave folders that get edited. (I sometimes work in multiple folders, and would not want to manually fully backup each folder everytime I do this. I may only work on one pic from one folder, then work on new imports, etc.. I hope you understand what I mean.

Last issue, Acronis uses an encrypted type of backup for incremental. If one incremental backup goes back or corrupt, all future incrementals become worthless I think. I am very worried about this. Any software that backups without needing the software to recover the files?

I don't necessarily need a pogram that I can schedule to do backups, since I do it manually, and then take the backup external HD offsite.

Ability to make an image and backup the OS and programs, incase of HD failure would be great too, which Acronis used to do. Backing up OS and backing up photos does not have to be same program, if one is better for one, and so forth.

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« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2011, 04:38:25 AM »

The tool you use needs to be driven by the functionality you want to achieve.

I would suggest that the work you do to your raw file archive - add keywords, adjust develop settings etc can all be held in the Lightroom catalog (and in the versioned catalog backups). Therefore there is a real premium placed on backup and preservation of that document.  (In fact, many of the most important functions in Lightroom *can't* be written out to the files. Collections, VC's, publish info, Export history, develop history are all catalog-only data.)

This makes the work you do in Lightroom fundamentally different, from a file-nhandling standpoint, than the source image files. If you are archiving raw files, then the source file *never* changes.  If you are archiving DNGs, then the source files change, (if you sync metadata and previews), but all of the changes are ones that can be stored and, more importantly, *restored* by the catalog, if preserved properly.

The above arrangement, is why I advocate splitting the catalog from the files, in terms of file handling and backup.  The catlaog (at least the .lrcat part) needs to be preserved in its most current form (along with wnatever backups you have decided to create and maintain). that's a different kind of problem than backing up unchanging image data.

So catalogs need to have an automatic backup that gets updated frequently.  Unchanging data like image files need to be updated much less frequently, and can take advantage of the benefits of easily-made write-once and offsite backups.
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